I took the 5 day WSO Workshop with Kathleen Conover several weeks ago in Silverton, Oregon at the beautiful setting of the Oregon Garden following the spring convention of the Watercolor Society of Oregon. I have primarily been a realistic painter and for the past several years was venturing out by creating abstract design in my backgrounds but still keeping a focal point that was realistic. I can share with you that from the minute I heard Kathleen speak about design and composition I knew that I had strayed from my basic foundations learned years ago. I guess I thought I didn't have to follow the steps on paper as long as I had a plan in my head. I was fooling myself. I will now have a plan before I venture to the paper with my brush, mostly because our brains can trick us away from following our plan. It was a very intense but worthwhile 5 days of learning -- often outside my comfort zone. We had "starts" in the workshop and three were close to being finished. There was a lot of lifting and adding paint but I am very happy with the results. It will be fun to see what comes out of my studio next--allowing myself six months to really work through all the information I have been given and see where it leads. Thanks you Kathleen for your outstanding teaching!
This painting started with covering the watercolor paper using a wallpaper design tool rolled across the surface with gesso juice mixture. Once dry, I applied the watercolors which gave an overall design in two tones. I knew immediately that I wanted to paint a 1925 shoe image which had been requested by a very dear friend (Thanks Kathy Gray). I didn't have all my paints with me but used a silver pen on the shoe. I loved that the background comes through in between the silver and black paint. I had thought of doing the other shoe in the background but it just didn't reflect what I wanted to say. I searched for period accessories and really anything from this time to add as a collage. I loved the headpiece of the lady in this painting which seemed like something that the woman would have worn as part of her outfit.
The next step was a first for me. I applied mat medium to the front of the female image and let each layer dry -- 6 coats in all. Waiting 72 hours to soak and lift off the acrylic tray I used and then scraping off the paper from the image. I let it dry but had to scrape a few more times. Finally I decided to put her in a period frame (which actually is a door in France). and added white watercolor inside the frame to create the mystery and aging to the photo. I used more mat medium top and bottom of the photo -- not sure that was totally correct but it worked.
Now I need your help in naming it. The person who comes up with the best title will get 5 fine art cards when I have them made in a couple of weeks. CONGRATULATIONS Dee Rommel for suggesting the title I thought expressed what I wanted to convey in this painting: LOOKING BACK, "THE DANCE."
COMMENTS are always welcomed!!
I still have a couple more paintings in the Peacock series. I took the time off from painting them to attend a workshop with Kathleen Conover -- paintings to be posted next post. I'm very interested in the detail of the head and the crown, particularly the eyes of the peacocks. The colors are always so beautiful that I can't resist painting. The first painting is done on Yupo and so the colors stay true from the first application. This one gave me the opportunity to add my vision to what I saw in many different photos we have taken as well as others.
Bird's Eye View
The second painting is one I've been waiting to paint. I really do like painting different shapes -- especially the long horizontal ones. When we were in Palos Verdes last Fall I saw this "dragon-like" bird flying across the sky while watching our Grandson's soccer game. In the B&B where we were staying they flocked to this giant tree. We came home each night too late to see them fly in but I got up early each morning and saw a few of them up in the tree and a few flew away but none were large males. I'm looking forward to our next visit because I'm determined to catch one in flight.
Modern Day Flying Dragon
Sharing my paintings with others is one of the joys in my life. Educating others about how I paint and the media I use is very important and why I wanted to reach out through this blog. Hope you will add a comment about what you see.